drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh scored four goals to help demolish India South Africa 10-2 and bounce back from their last outing defeat in style in the men’s FIH Pro League hockey in Potchefstroom on Sunday. After an evenly contested first quarter when the scores were tied 1-1, India completely dominated in the remaining three periods, pumping in nine goals against the hapless South Africans to notch up their third win in four matches. Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist India, who were stunned by lower-ranked France on Saturday, won by the same margin in their first-leg match against South Africa.
Harmanpreet scored in the 36th, 52nd, 60th and 60th minute while Shilananda Lakra (27th and 48th minute) struck a brace. Surender Kumar (15th), Mandeep Singh (28th), Sumit (45th) and Shamsher Singh (56th) were the other goal scorers for India.
Daniel Bell (12th) and Connor Beauchamp (53rd) scored for South Africa.
India scored as many as five goals in the fourth quarter with Harmanpreet contributing two.
India thus ended their South African leg of the FIH Pro League on a high note a day after the 2-5 defeat by France.
They will face Spain in their next match in Bhubaneswar.
India dominated the fast-paced first quarter with a lot of opposition circle penetration but it was South Africa who scored first, in the 12th minute, with Daniel Bell converting the home side’s second penalty corner.
India, who also got two penalty corners in the first quarter, equalized three minutes later with Surender Kumar firing into the roof of South Africa net from a fine field effort.
The Manpreet Singh-led side pumped in two quick goals in less than two minutes in the second quarter through Shilanand Lakra and Mandeep Singh’s field strikes to go into the half time break with a 3-1 lead.
Krishna Bahadur Pathak, who started at the Indian goal instead of veteran PR Sreejesh, made a fine save, denying South Africa from their third penalty corner of the match in the 24th minute.
Pathak did well again, in the early minutes of the third quarter, saving a penalty stroke taken by Jethro Eustice.
After a few minutes of ascendency by South Africa, India roared back with a slew of dangerous attacks, and Harmanpreet scored from the visiting team’s third penalty corner in the 36th minute.
Sumit then fired in a field goal through a reverse flick to make it 5-1 in the 45th minute and break South Africa’s back.
India did not show any mercy on a demoralised South Africa as they pumped in five more goals in the final quarter.
South Africa pulled one back in the 53rd minute through Connor Beauchamp.
But the Indians were not done yet as Shamsher Singh struck in the 53rd minute with a field goal before Harmanpreet completed his hat-trick and then scored his fourth goal as the visitors inflicted an embarrassing defeat on the hosts.
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